Johor Bahru is a unique city to visit as a transit stop between Malaysia and Singapore. There are many palaces, temples, nature reserves and theme parks to explore in the region.
Here you can visit old traditional Malay houses, relax in the Rumah spa, or buy traditional handcrafts from the market.
This temple, completed in 1996, was the first glass temple in the world.
This beautiful National Park features 7 lakes and a tropical rainforest of 13 hectares.
This sister to the California attraction has 40 rides inspired by the Lego toy.
These beautifully manicured gardens are attached to the Sultan Abu Bakar Royal Palace Museum.
When people go to Asia, they tend think of incredible architecture, rich forests, incredible culture and food, but they don't necessarily think of international theme parks. However, Legoland is one of the biggest draws of Johor Bahru and, if you have kids, it's perfect. But let's be honest, adults will love Legoland just as much as the adults, because building Lego is about more than playing with a toy, it's about conceptualizing something and working with math and physics to make that a reality. It's an educational experience for everyone, wrapped in the perfect bow of fun. Complete with a water park, it's also a great way to relax away from the intense Asian sun. Entry to both the water park and regular theme park is around $50/per person.
You may be wondering why a bakery is on a list of things to see in Johor Bahru, but the reasoning is that not only are there delicious local bakery items for you to try, but this Asian mom and pop shop has been around for over nearly 100 years. The method of baking hasn't changed drastically since the place opened in 1919. It's still done by wood fire in the same kiln-like oven used since the beginning. Trying local cuisine is critical when visiting somewhere, but it's even better when you can combine that with a long, rich history and a baking technique that's no longer widespread.
This is the state mosque of Jahor and it's no less impressive than one would expect of a mosque that can house around 2,000 worshipers. The architecture is stunning, but interestingly was built with more of of a colonial, English Victorian vibe in mind. Built between 1892 and 1900, it's withstood the test of time very well. You can visit, but be advised you will need to follow local customs in terms of covering up.
Not far from the city center of Johor Bahru is the Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest, which is the perfect escape from city life. Here you'll find Pulai Waterfall, the tallest in the region, and have ample opportunities to see local wildlife like monkeys, lizards and exotic, native birds.
Located in the marina area of Johor Bahru, you'll find shopping of all kinds, fine dining and great walks built around the cluster of towering buildings, incredible fountains and beautiful views of the rest of the city and even of Singapore. If you want to immerse yourself in luxury, than visiting Princess Cove is an absolute must - even if you're only window shopping. And if you're wanting a luxury stay, than look no further than the hotels in this area.
The best time to visit is in the late spring (April-June) when the weather is temperate and the rainy monsoon season has ended.
Senai International Airport is 35km outside of the city center. From London, one way tickets cost MYR1,600.
The JB Sentral railway station has connections from other Malaysian cities and Singapore. The trip to Singapore takes one hour and costs around MYR30.
Visitors can cross the border from Singapore into Malaysia through the Causeway or the Second Link entrance.
The C1-6 buses will transport you from Singapore over the border to Johor Bahru. The trip takes around 30 minutes and costs MYR2.
Afiniti Residences Homestay offers 2-bedroom self-catering apartments near Legoland. Nightly prices start at MYR650.
City Square Downtown - This neighborhood has a high concentration of hotels, with many places of worship, open air markets and tourist cultural attractions located here.
Gelang Patah - This area is close to the second link connection to Singapore, with many clubs, restaurants and markets.
Danga Bay - This region is currently being developed, though there are already some amusement parks attracting visitors with the Danga World Theme Park, Danga World Petting Zoo and Rumah Limas.
There are many public buses, although they are inconsistent and sometimes hard to follow. A one way ticket costs between MYR1-MYR2.5.
The starting tariff for taxis is MYR3, with a standard fare costing MYR20 around downtown.
Rental vehicles can be picked up at the central train station or airport, with daily rates starting at MYR230.
KSL City is the biggest shopping mall in town, with 350 sales outlets from well-established brands. For more traditional souvenirs, you can buy local handcrafts, toys, clothes and books from the Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation (JARO) Handicrafts Centre.
Tesco and Giant are the two biggest grocery markets. A dozen eggs will cost you MYR5.
Restoran Banafee offers authentic Malay dishes at affordable prices, with an average meal costing only MYR15.